“O Master of the Universe, I pray that we keep getting more and more miseries because in miserable times we have had your darshan (presence), and one who gets your darshan doesn’t have to return to the whirlpool of birth and death.”Srimada Bhagavatam 1.8.25
When Bhagavan Shri Krishna is leaving for His kingdom Dwarka having instated Yudhisthira as the rightful ruler of the world after the Mahabhharata War, Queen Kunti comes in front of His chariot and offers prayers. The quote above is one verse from the soulful prayers offered by her to Shri Krishna in first canto, eighth chapter of Bhagavatam. This prayer is one of the most celebrated prayers of Bhagavatam and one that is dear to devotees of Shri Krishna. The speciality here as you can see is that it’s strange to find someone asking the divine for more miseries in life. Usually, prayers involve people asking divine for the “daily bread”, wealth, health, riches, love (from other humans) etc. Who asks for pain?
A Whirlpool of Repeated Miseries
Within the last month, a friend’s mother had to be hospitalised thanks to the virus; another friend’s father passed on due to cancer. A few days back, another friend’s husband tested positive for Wuhan virus, and someone’s cancer has started to spread. All while we continue to come to terms with — the anxiety about the virus, the economic pushback, the emotional challenges of coping with the ‘new normal’.
Yep, life is just not easy.
Whether you pray for miseries like Queen Kunti or you don’t, suffering is something that is definitely going to arrive in life. At least there is one bit of certainty in an otherwise uncertain world!
Queen Kunti’s Formula
In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas, despite being the most extraordinary people, suffered calamitous situations throughout their life. Kunti herself was widowed at a young age and suffered all life reversals along with her children and subsequently saw all her son, Karna and grandchildren killed in the great war.
Her response, though?
She’s asking Krishna for more miseries because somehow she has the cognisance that she is something more significant than the circumstances in her life. And besides, she has found both solace and ultimate solution in surrendering to the Supersoul, i.e., Krishna.
Someone may ask, but, Kushagra, I’m not religious. I cannot submit to some Supersoul or God.
Fair enough. I agree that not everyone is blessed with the vision of Queen Kunti.
“Bahūnām janmanām ante jñānavān mām prapadyate”Bhagavad Gita, 7.19
After many many births, one who is enlightened by actual knowledge surrenders to the Supersoul.
What about the commoners like us who do not have either the tolerance of Queen Kunti or her wisdom to devote ourselves to the Supreme?
If You Get Nervous Focus On Service
Once I was doing an oracle reading for a client who was anxious about the state of his life, I got a beautiful card.
As I sat down to write this blog, the angels reminded me of this card once again. Life has been a bit overwhelming over the past some time. While we are powerless over external circumstances, we can always strive to help ease others’s lives. We can spread a little smile, a spark of joy to someone else. Not because of some ‘Karma theory’ and moral principles but because the act of service itself makes one feel alive and happy in the now.
Wouldn’t that be the best gift?
As I reflect upon Shri Krishna’s life, I find that all His life, He dedicated His divine presence for the betterment of others.
- He left His beloved Vrindavan to free the residents of Mathura from the tyranny of Kams.
- Made Ugrasena the king of Dwarka even though Krishna Himself was the most qualified person.
- Helped King Yuddhisthira conduct a ‘Rajsuya Yajña’ that established the king’s supremacy.
- Became a messenger of peace and tried to evade the great war.
- Became Arjuna’s charioteer in the great war.
- Saved Bhima from certain death at the hands of Dhritarashtra.
- Got cursed by Gandhari on behalf of the Pandavas as naturally the curse would’ve been directed towards them.
He could yet manage even until the end of ‘human lilā’.
Perhaps that is the secret sauce of going through an existence Krishna refers to as ‘दुखलायम’ (place of misery) in Bhagavad Gita— Keep a smile and offer some service to life around.
An Attitude Shift
If the above doesn’t resonate with you then we may focus on cultivating a resilient attitude through the inspirational example set great people like Kunti.
Our epics are full of stories of triumph after prolonged suffering. Be it Mahabharata or Ramayana. One reason why these stories are taught and propagated is to inspire us towards the realisation that no matter what kind of adversity comes in our lives, we can overcome.
Acceptance of the present moment is that magical gift that anyone can transform any suffering.
I love it how Sadhguru puts it. He says if you look back at the happiest moments of your life, one common thread in each is that you were all-embracing of those moments. There was a complete acceptance of what was happening. No resistance.
Reversals in life will come no matter what you do or who you are. You can have billions in wealth, millions of followers, look like a supermodel, be on top of your career, have thriving relationships, but problems will still find a way to creep up.
Question is what makes life easier despite the challenges?
Moaning, complaining, embitterment
Graceful acceptance of the situation and then working towards overcoming it?
If you’re going through a hard time in your life right now, I send you blessings and positive vibes. May the divine bless you with inner strength and wisdom. May you cultivate an attitude that overcomes each challenge.
A blog for all those who are going through a hard time.Tweet
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE WEEK
A blog that takes inspiration from Rahul Dravid on handling a crisis.
A book that I have come to admire in retrospect
A sweet show called the Schitts Creek that was suggested to me by my friend, Aditi. I Watched a few episodes and am warming up to it.